Federal judge in Michigan strikes down marriage ban after landmark trial

Today, March 21, 2014, U.S. District Court Judge Bernard Friedman, a Reagan appointee, ruled that laws in Michigan prohibiting same-sex couples from marrying are unconstitutional. READ THE RULING HERE.

The decision from Judge Friedman in the case, DeBoer v. Snyder, came down after the first trial on marriage for gay couples since California’s Hollingsworth v. Perry – and only the second since the first-ever freedom to marry trial in Hawaii in 1996. Following last year’s Supreme Court decision in U.S. v. Windsor, Judge Bernard Friedman is the ninth consecutive federal judge to issue such a ruling overturning state marriage discrimination on constitutional grounds.

Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry, cheered on the ruling. He said:

The discriminatory ban is untrue to Michigan’s – and America’s – values, and the judge was right to strike it down. It’s time that all committed couples in Michigan be treated with respect and dignity under the law, fully able to share in the freedom to marry and the responsibilities and protections marriage brings. Today’s win comes after a full trial - complete with prosecutors and defendants, witness cross-examinations, and testimony from family experts on the well-being of children - which showed that opponents have nothing more than the same bogus claims they have recycled for decades. They were simply unable to provide a single legitimate reason why committed same-sex couples should be excluded from marriage. Michigan, like all of America, is ready for the freedom to marry.

It's already been a huge year for the freedom to marry in states across the country - Judge Friedman is the ninth federal judge in the past three months to rule in favor of the freedom to marry, after positive rulings from Judge Shelby in Utah, Judge Timothy Black in Ohio, Judge Kern in Oklahoma, Judge Heyburn in Kentucky, Judge Wright Allen in Virginia, Judge Garcia in Texas, Judge Coleman in Illinois, and Judge Trauger in Tennessee. 

Learn more about the ruling - and all of the other 57 marriage lawsuits pending in court at Freedom to Marry's Litigation resource page